Friday, April 29, 2011

My Favorite Spring Ritual!

During Winter the back door gets closed off to keep in what heat there is & the cold out!
The Spring Ritual is to MOVE the book case & Wallah! LIGHT & FRESH AIR!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Where We Live

I waited 14 years for this little 2 bedroom cottage to become available for Gabe & I !
Front room & kitchen are together & just divided up by a couch. This is door to my bedroom & work space. 

The 65 drawer old library cabinet I tell you about on my Etsy Profile where I store my collections.
Front room wall with my bookshelf / altar & my most prized possession; a glass chandelier from India!
Open kitchen dish cabinet
Bathroom with cabinet I painted & the orange flowers are my nightlights
Gabe's bedroom! He loves outer space stuff so have blow up planets! The lamp is another ugly one I saved!
View in to our backyard. Only window you've seen, but I hope you can tell there is lots of southern exposure! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I never got the shopping thing. Going to the mall & buying something from Nordstrom or their Rack was a rarity for me, even when I had the money for it. I grew up in an upper middle class family so never really wanted for anything, but from the time I started buying my own things, I LOVED hunting through street festivals, little ethnic stores, thrift & consignment shops. Now THAT'S shopping! Finding something precious, unique & previously loved resonated with me as a treat that was hard to describe.

I 'left' my own body & transferred care to my baby & growing step children as I said before & when I did get any time to myself, I hit garage sales & thrift stores with gusto. I'm not the kind that showed up at 8 am to muscle my way to the under priced collectibles before roaring off to the next find; I was the one digging through vintage sewing boxes, or at the bottom of cardboard boxes in search of retro trinkets or a piece of old jewelry & paying 25 cents or a buck. When I started teaching art classes to kids in mixed media,  I'd drag in boxes of wood, fluff, old toy parts or styrofoam  & the kids were amazed by all the 'junk' they could use to put something together. We'd build whole cities on a big sheet of plywood out of cardboard boxes & stick it all together with clay, glue or tape. Heaven.

I'm not sure when things switched over from collecting to hoarding, or at least when I started feeling uncomfortable about all the junk I had. Probably when the marriage broke up or I stopped teaching the kids due to budget cuts & suddenly had boxes full of stuff that no longer felt precious, but more of a burden, carrying it from one place to another, until finally throwing it all in to a storage unit. I had also stopped creating art around this time to sell to the tourist market, or to give away as gifts.

About 3 years ago a very dear friend passed away suddenly, but not before she told me that when she died, she was willing the contents of her studio to me & another friend. It seemed like an odd statement at the time, as neither of us knew she was already very ill. I asked several times to see the place where she created, but could tell she felt embarrassed by it for some reason & always put me off. When I finally did walk in to that mysterious, sacred space after she died,  I immediately felt an eerie similarity between my studio and hers. Piles & piles of beautiful, amazing things were just laying around neglected & I realized she was hoarding like me. She changed in the months leading up to her death; angry, sullen; not making a lot of sense. She died of a brain aneurysm which did make sense upon reflection, but as I collected her things to take away, I felt the pain in her & me, trying to fill the empty places in her heart & soul with trinkets at the bottom of card board boxes.

I discovered Etsy last December & am getting more in to the swing of a new life, now selling off those supplies to other artists who can breath new life in to them. They ARE serving a great purpose & I don't feel like I'm hoarding anymore. These things are actually becoming part of my livlihood now, but I AM saving some precious bits which I will use myself eventually, breathing new life in to them, my new art, & most importantly myself.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Comments on the Life of Seraphine Louis

A friend asked me why Seraphine was such an important movie to me. The following was my response.

I have been fascinated by the correlations between visionaries & mental giftedness & development my entire life. The artistic/spiritual world is full of both as you know, as though one might not be present without the other. I do not know one great artist/visionary who does not have something they need to 'work through' when they are creating 'great' works of art, including myself. When all is right with the world, I rarely create; when all is wrong I become prolific. Many I've known have taken themselves off of their psychotropic meds at times in order to return to that aching place where deep connection with spirit/art isn't masked behind a pharmacutical wall.

Those like Seraphine or Picasso, in her time period didn't have the luxury of a medicated world.What I really appreciated about her was that she was oblivious to what might not be the 'correct' way to be, but knew deep inside what she needed to DO in order to create & to fly under the radar. She wasn't creating for herself anyway; she was in touch with a deep sense of spiritual connection that carried her through to enormous creativity, until there was an intrusion on her life from the outside 'art' world. Suddenly she was broken open & her vulnerable heart/art/spirit was trampled by expectations of a world she wasn't a part of in the first place. How many of these people then & now end up abandoned, poor & alone, where death might actually be a welcome relief? They are too much for the world.

My son Gabe is an example of someone who is largely oblivious to the opinions of those outside himself, yet carries enormous telepathy & empathy. His intelligence has always reminded me of a heart monitor screen. There is what appears to be a flat line, then a blip up, flat line, blip up. The kid has a break through in the back seat of the car that astounds me sometimes where he comes out with something that peaks past my intelligence for a few moments, a sentence or  a thought, then is back to his humming tourette's behavior like it never happened, until the next time it does.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In & Out & Back In My Body

I just got back from doing my first yoga class in about 15 years. Yes, used to be a crisp little pretzel; now I'm a soft round one. I've got to start somewhere, so I'm starting back at the beginning. The most important thing I learned 25 years ago was I didn't need to be a 'dancer' to be moved. I also learned it's o.k., (& actually takes the pressure off), to remind myself, 'I'm always beginning.' A few things I'm REALLY passionate about where both are SO true are Art & Movement. I've never been one of those artists OR movers who stuck with any one medium for long. I have drawn, done pen & ink, water color & many other types of art. I've stuck with mixed media & assemblage for so long because it's all encompassing & can take just about any form. I've studied Ballet, Modern & African dance, Improvisational, Contact, Yoga, Sufi dancing & believe I stay with Authentic Movement, like mixed media, because I always get to begin again where  I am NOW; in this moment. I AM a 'cooker'; the art & moving ideas are always running around in my head, but I also bang out projects pretty fast & furious once I get started.

I did my B.A & M.A. in Somatic Psychology; pretty much spending 20 years totally IN my body & then the next 10 years pretty much OUT. A great deal of my own emotional & spiritual content used to be worked out from the neck down, then it just became too threatening & painful to go there & it all went up, above the neck & got stuck there.

The moving piece pretty much stopped around the time I gave birth to my son. I was not an earthy, natural type pregnancy person. I WAS thrilled to be pregnant with my only child; I just didn't particularly care for the 10 months it took to get him here. It was a high risk pregnancy & I was told I wouldn't carry him to term. He was born the day before his due date. The birthing process? I screamed at the top of my lungs until the nurse looked me in the eye & said, "Bring it down....", so then I screamed at the bottom of my lungs. Gabe wasn't breathing when he came out due to a lack of oxygen from the cord being wrapped around his neck. If I was going to have a compromised special needs child, Gabe was & is definitely the one to have. He IS the love of my life, but from his day one, that's where ALL of me went, , then to my husband, then to my two young step children, then to teaching college, then to standing in my art studio until late in to the night after Gabe went to bed, creating art pieces like there was no tomorrow. Prolific, expansive, yet in my head art & that was ALL I had for a good 8 years. Then the marriage was falling apart, the house was being sold & we were working out a parenting plan.

By then I finally got to NOW & I walked back in to my first yoga class today. Back to the mat; the blocks, the belt & the wall. It felt exhilarating & challenging. Until I can't move tomorrow anyway.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I want to recommend an Art movie that is a must see; I can't believe I had forgotten about it until I saw it at the library again today. It is the true story Seraphine Louis, who in 1905 at the age of 40 began her 'career' as a painter. In 1912, as a 'simple' housekeeper for the German Art critic, she is discovered when he comes upon her brilliant work. It is the most touching movie on resilience & spirit I have ever seen.

Candy Boxes & Assemblage

I like to visit places in Seattle like The World Market, Uwajimaya Chinese Market, Trader Joe's, Pike Place Market, etc., & always check out their candy boxes from around the world! It's amazing how beautiful, useful (& tasty) import boxes can be. Below is an example of one I picked up at an After - Xmas sale at World Market. It's Almond Bark from Italy that was 50% off of $25.

As you can see, there are some nice images on the front of this box, & a see through  f . I've collaged the top of these boxes before, maybe working around the themes already there & then placing images below the plastic cut out on to the bottom of the box for a great 2-D effect. The bottom of this particular box provides a perfect frame for a collage & is also great for continuing or building a corresponding theme to the collage up on to the frame. Then, as an added bonus, look at the candy wrappings in the third picture! Beautiful vintage photo's on little nicely made boxes and wrappers in paper & foil that can be cut out or scrunched up & used for cover or building up 2-D assemblage images.

The same ideas as above can be used for these or other more ornate Valentine boxes. Cut out the beautiful imprinted foil plastic & place an image of a rose on top for 2-D effects, or to continue a theme. I am a recycler & can figure out numerous ways to use candy boxes!

Of course I always throw out the candy. ....... Ya, right!    : /